An estimated 1.8 million doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine is likely to arrive in Sri Lanka by the end of this month under the COVAX facility of the World Health Organization, Dr. Palitha Abeykoon, the WHO Director General’s Special Envoy to coordinate the global response to COVID-19 told Daily Mirror yesterday.
Dr.abeykoon said that the WHO is likely to list the Astra Zeneca vaccine under its Emergency Use Life (EUL) by next week, following which arrangements will be made to ship the vaccines to Colombo. Presently, the only vaccines listed under the EUL of the WHO is the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
It is still unclear from which country the Astra Zeneca vaccines would arrive in Colombo as this vaccine is presently being manufactured in other places as well in addition to the Serum Institute in India.
As soon as the first batch arrives under the COVAX facility, the WHO will work on sending the second batch as soon as possible. Sri Lanka is eligible to receive 4 million doses of the anti COVID-19 vaccines by the WHO.
“All the vaccines under the COVAX facility will come in within this year or even by the third quarter. However, this is yet to be worked out. Pfizer is unlikely to come here as it is already bought up by some other countries so likely that by the end of this year, one or two more vaccines may be listed under the EUL by the WHO,” Dr. Abeykoon said.
By next month it is likely that two more vaccines will be listed under the EUL. Once these vaccines are approved, Sri Lanka is likely to receive those vaccines as well under the COVAX facility.
As soon as the vaccines arrive in Sri Lanka, the government will continue the vaccination drive by vaccinating the lists which have been planned.(JAMILA HUSAIN)